HILL: “We’re still pushing for that title!”
After another healthy points haul during the latest rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship, ROKiT MB Motorsport and Jake Hill are feeling confident as the title battle approaches its peak.
Heading to Thruxton in fine form after outscoring all of his rivals since the summer break, Hill continued his pace into the weekend’s practices as he finished Saturday’s sessions in second and third place respectively.
Hill then delivered a sublime qualifying session once again, putting his WSR-run BMW 330e on the second row of the grid in third place and as the standout performer in the rear-wheel drive cars, finishing as the only rear-wheel drive runner in the top thirteen.
Hill’s strong qualifying performance also saw him take the lead in the Goodyear Wingfoot Award – rewarded to the driver with the best qualifying performance throughout the BTCC season.
When race day arrived at Thruxton, Hill started the first race of the weekend from the second row and got a strong launch off the line and was locked in a three-wide battle as the grid swept into the first heavy braking zone. With competitors on both sides of his BMW, the 28-year-old was squeezed back, and the trio of cars were all fortunate enough to avoid any serious contact, but Hill subsequently dropped to 4th place.
With the front-wheel drive cars able to extract more grip on the opening laps, Hill began to drop back from the leading three cars and was defending from the group of cars behind him. Eventually getting his tyres up to optimum temperature, the #24 driver came fighting back to the top three and was hot on their tails, before bringing the car home in fourth place.
Firing off the line once again in the second contest, Hill would battle valiantly to defend fourth spot throughout the 14-lap encounter, recording more solid points in Round 23.
Starting the final reverse-grid race from eighth, Hill was locked in a tight battle from the off, but as they exited the fast right-hander at Segrave, the tight bunching in the pack saw Hill edged wide and onto the grass.
Falling back several positions to 15th after the first lap of racing, Hill delivered a determined fight back as he overtook a handful of cars and eventually came across the finishing line for the final time at Thruxton in 12th place.
Picking up a total of 30 points from the weekend’s racing, Hill departs Thruxton fourth in the Drivers’ Championship, just 23 points behind the championship leader, Coin Turkington, with six races still to contest in the 2022 campaign.
The next race weekend, and penultimate event of the season, takes place at Silverstone on the National Circuit on 24/25 September.
“This weekend was a case of damage limitation as we knew this circuit wouldn’t favour us as much as it did our rivals, but the team still did a fantastic job to give me a car capable of battling at the front,” praised Hill. “I was extremely pleased with my qualifying performance – I don’t think there was anything else I could have extracted from the car in that session!
“The races were tough as getting the tyre temperatures in early was a challenge compared to the FWD cars. The opening laps were like driving on ice, but we managed to avoid any dramas and picked up some good points across the three races.
“We now head for Silverstone, a circuit I have fond memories of and definitely one of the highlights of the year. The championship is still really tight and we’re still pushing for that title!”
“Thruxton was always going to be a challenging weekend for us, but Jake and the team battled throughout the weekend, and we all leave the circuit with our heads held high,” added Sporting Director Mark Blundell. “The entire team’s ‘never give up’ attitude means that we still recorded good points and head to Silverstone firmly still in the championship fight.”